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Last night, I posted an email that Chris Allbritton, an American reporter based in Beirut, had sent to National Review Online in early October. In it, Allbritton called W. Thomas Smith Jr., who has been posting stories from Lebanon for NRO, a “liar.” This was one of many red flags NRO received about Smith’s work, but kept publishing him nonetheless.
Now Jonathan Schwarz at Mother Jones writes about his own curious experience with NRO’s online editor Kathryn Jean Lopez, who was very, very slow to address the obvious problems with Smith’s work.
Meanwhile, The New Republic has published a long story confirming what has been obvious for a long time: the columns of “Baghdad Diarist” Scott Thomas Beauchamp contained large amounts of crap.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”